Legal experts share predictions for Chauvin sentencing

Derek Chauvin's latest mugshot after he was booked into prison following his conviction. (Minnesota Dept. of Corrections)

Minnesota legal experts are sharing their predictions for Friday’s sentencing of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. FOX 9 will be airing Chauvin’s sentencing live on FOX 9 and at 1:30 p.m. CT.

In April, a jury convicted Chauvin on all counts for the murder of George Floyd. While Floyd’s family is expected to speak at the hearing, it is still unknown if Chauvin will use his opportunity to make a statement.

"If he says ‘I’m sorry for what I did’ or admits any guilt in a sentencing statement, that statement could be used against him in federal prosecution as well," said criminal defense attorney Ryan Pacyga, who is not involved with the Chauvin case.

Pacyga says it’s highly unlikely Chauvin will make a statement as he is still waiting to stand trial in federal court.

"He’s in a tight spot," said Pacyga. "I mean, a lot of times if someone is convicted, you at least want them to talk about that they have insight into the impact that their actions caused the victim and their family… but at the same time, most people speaking on their own behalf don’t have to worry about a federal prosecution."

Trial Judge Peter Cahill is expected to go higher than sentencing guidelines recommend. Many experts estimate Chauvin will get 20 to 25 years.

"Judge Cahill has indicated he is appalled by what Chauvin did and he’s willing to hold him accountable in a significant way," said Rachel Moran, a law professor at the University of St. Thomas.

Moran focuses her research on police misconduct cases and refutes the idea that such a sentence would set a dangerous precedent.  

"That may be the fear of some police officers, but historically we’re nowhere near that point and I don’t think this case alone will take us to that point," she said.

As for Chauvin, his punishments are long from settled.

"Although this sentencing is going to bring some finality, this really isn’t the end," said Pacyga.